Monday, August 11, 2008

Beijing: day 2 and 3 in review.

Sorry to drop the ball on the Sunday update, hopefully it wont happen again.

The last couple days have sure been exciting on the other side of the world. Day 2 saw the first day of competition for mens and womens gymnastics, the number 1 ladies team in the world in the sand and the oldest American to travel to China earn a Silver with the help of some youngsters in the pool. Day 3 saw Micheal Phelps' dream of 8 golds continue, along with the Koreans win their 4th straigh archery gold.

On day 2, we were treated to a dominant display by the Chinese mens gymnastics team. But don't count out the Japenese to contend for gold in the finals. The fight for bronze may be the most interesting, with 4 teams, being led by the United States, bunched together going into Tuesdays team final.
On the womens side, the United States didn't fair quite as well as the slightly surprising men. The women, lead by 2 world all-around champions, felt the sting of Samantha Peszak injured ankle, with only 4 athletes being able to compete in 3 events. Despite a couple of miscues they advance to the next round where all scores are erased and every team starts with a clean slate. So lets go girls.
In the sand the Womens team of Misty May-Treaner and Keri Walsh continued their dominance of the world by extending their record 101 match winning streak by destroying the over matched Japenese team in straight sets.
The golden boy of the Olympics, Micheal Phelps, continues his quest to become the greatest Olympic champion of all time. He won his first medal in the 4x100 meter individual medley, besting his own world record by over a second in the process. Phelps sure needed some help to get his second gold medal of these games though. Leading off the 4x100 freestyle relay, Phelps kept the U.S. in the hunt, but was not the leader after his split. Garret Weber-Gale and Cullen Johnson kept the U.S. in second, behind the favored French, going into the anchor leg. Thats where history was made, Jason Lezak came back from a full body length in the final 50 meters to cap of the greatest swimming race, quite possibly in history. Their female counterparts also had quite the showing as well. The women posted a time of 3:34.33, good enough for the silver medal. It was the 10th carreer medal for Dara Torres, who at 41 is the oldest U.S. competitor.
On the Court the U.S. mens squad bested China 101-70, while the team consisting of the fairer sex dominated the host nation 108-63.
Tennis saw the Americans bested in all but 2 matches, with the Williams sisters easily winning their opening round matches.
The number one mens beach vollyball team, Rogers and Dalhouser, rebounded from a shocking loss on day one to beat the Swiss handily on day 3.

A couple of side notes to wrap this up: What are the limits of human performance? The top 5 teams in the 4x100 freestyle relay, won by the US, broke the old world record, at one point in the race, all 8 finalists were ahead of WR time.
How, do people get involved in some of these obscure sports? Handball for instance, the US didn't even field a team. Its a combonation of basketball and soccer, two sports our women dominate in international competition. Why can't we get a bunch of ladies together and bring home the gold in 2012?

In the medal count the Chinese continue to blow the field out of the water with 9 gold medals, more than twice the second place country. But only hold a 2 medal advantage to the US in the over all medal count.

China 9 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze 14 total
USA 3 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze 12 total
S. Korea 4 gold, 4 silver, 0 bronze 8 total
Italy 3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze 8 total


Daymonster said...

I think the Swimming thing is due to a couple of factors. One is the Speedo LZR, which will help beat some records. I honestly think if Phelps wasn't going for 8 golds they wouldn't have fielded their best team, relays often come second to the individuals.

I played a bit of handball once, it was really fun. I say we all start playing and try to qualify for the olympics.

tfrezac2002 said...

Another thought I just had, why are they constantly blaring terrible American music in the background of all of these events?

soup said...

Handball does look pretty fun, but why do they have a goalie. I've watched quite a bit of handball over here, and I have never seen a goalie stop a ball. They even have penalty thows. The goalie is just helpless.

Jim H. said...

I had a high school clasmate who was a member of the USA men's team handball squad. (This would have been about 1968.) He had been stationed in Germany and the Army base there had a team. He got back to the US and helped organize a men's team and find a sponsor. I don't think they won any medals, but they sure had fun, especially on an exhibition tour of the US when people would say "Wha? Team handball?"

Daymonster said...

Another thing I noticed was how awkward the Chinese Men's Gymnastics team looked doing high fives.

But I liked that better than how the US Men kept talking to the camera and putting up the number 1 with their finger.

tfrezac2002 said...

Whats the deal with NBC having terrible commentators on almost every sport? Short of broadcasting legend Bob Costas they brought nothing to the table. Chris Collinsworth? Tiki Barber? Did anyone else catch the Tiki on Tiki segment, where he interviewed an athlete named Tiki Barber? Just atrocious.

Daymonster said...

I think it's because no one is used to commentating these types of events. Aside from basketball and soccer none of these events get much air time except every 4 years. So either they try and get seasoned commentators with no knowledge of the event or past Olympians that stumble through their sentences on air.

TwinsWin83 said...

Yeah I will second Daymonsters comments about the USA mens gymnastics team making things real awkward last night when the camera was on them on the sidelines. They all just kept saying rediculous stuff like 'never give up' and 'this is what we do' which just sounded weird coming from dude gymnists.

Nothing against them and from what I can tell they did a real impressive thing taking the bronze but all this 'tough talk' was going on while they were losing a lead to China and eventually Japan for gold and silver.

After Phellps won the gold last night they were playing country music in the background at the stadium in Beijing. Hillarious.

Is anyone else suprised that the mens team only beat Lithuania by 20 points in bball? Is that a bad sign for things too come? I like the nickname "Redeem Team"

Daymonster said...

You mean Angola right? Also, I noticed the song as well it was the song that goes "she had a bar-b-que stain on her white tshirt she was killing me in that miniskirt" hahaha